Nepal and the Philippines a priority, states IFJ Asia-Pacific regional meeting in Taiwan

The appalling safety and press freedom conditions for journalists in Nepal and the Philippines are priority areas for solidarity action for the IFJ in the Asia-Pacific, says the conference of over forty journalist leaders representing the IFJ Asia-Pacific group, which just concluded in Taipei, Taiwan.


The "Media for Democracy - the Challenge in Asia" IFJ regional conference met in Taipei from July 7-10 and made declarations on various issues of concern for journalists in the Asia-Pacific region.


Hosted by the IFJ's Taiwan affiliate, the Association of Taiwan Journalists (ATJ), and supported by the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, the meeting brought together leaders of journalists' organisations from: Australia, Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and Thailand.


The meeting called on the IFJ to co-ordinate international solidarity actions over the coming months calling for improvements in press freedom and safety for journalists in Nepal and the Philippines, in recognition of the dire situation facing journalists these two countries.


"The press freedom and safety situations in Nepal and the Philippines are priority areas for the IFJ in the Asia-Pacific region," said IFJ President Christopher Warren, who led the meeting of IFJ journalist leaders.


"Journalists in these two countries should take comfort in the fact that their colleagues across the region are standing shoulder to shoulder with them and will continue to fight for their rights to report without the threat of intimidation, arrest, assault or death," said the President of the IFJ, the global organisation representing over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries.


The meeting of IFJ affiliates also passed a number of other specific resolutions including:

· Condemnation of the detention in China of Hong Kong journalist Ching Cheong and Chinese journalist Zhao Yan;

· Condemnation of the jailing of New York Times journalist Judith Miller;

· Opposition to criminal defamation, with particular reference to the current cases of Supinya Klangnarong and the Thai Post in Thailand, and Tempo and Koridor Tabloid Indonesia;

· Supporting the intention to form an IFJ Asia-Pacific Federation;

· Supporting workers' rights and independent media in the region;

· Demanding job security for journalists in the Asia-Pacific.


The IFJ President used the location of the meeting, Taipei, to reaffirm the IFJ's opposition to the United Nations World Heath Organisation's (WHO) discrimination against journalists on the basis of nationality.


Warren pledged the IFJ would stand by the Association of Taiwan Journalists' in their fight to have all journalists allowed to report on UN activities irrespective of their nationality.


"When reporting the news, a journalist is a journalist - not a representative of their country of origin - and all journalists should be free to report on world events, including those of the United Nations," said Warren.


The WHO has refused to accredit Taiwanese journalists for two years running, effectively barring them from attending WHO meetings. The IFJ has written to the United Nations calling on the UN to cease the unfair treatment of Taiwanese journalists.


Taiwan has not been a member of the UN since 1971, due to opposition from China. Taiwanese journalists have not been allowed to attend any UN meetings since then.


The IFJ meeting also passed a final communiqué on IFJ priorities in the region, which included positions on journalists' safety; forms of employment; media ownership and media concentration; trade union development; reporting HIV/AIDS; conflict reporting; child rights; gender; and public service media.


For further information on the meeting, including the full resolutions, program, participants' list and papers, visit www.ifj-asia.org


For further information, please contact Christopher Warren on +61 411 757 668.

The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries